Mercy Corps Gets My $ for Chinese Earthquake Relief Effort — Here’s Why

Mercy Corps Gets My $ for Chinese Earthquake Relief Effort -- Here's WhyOnce again, like in last week’s lightning response to Myanmar’s cyclone Nagris, Mercy Corps was out there first with a program in place to provide relief to survivors of the earthquake in China.

With more than 12,000 already reported dead, and the count climbing by the minute, it’s clear that the scale of devastation is huge. Immeasurable relief aid needed for their survivors — most without shelter, clothing, food and livelihood. Unfortunately, the challenge of raising relief dollars is going to be harder than ever, with last week’s disaster in Myanmar leaving many prospective donors feeling tapped out.

Here’s how Mercy Corps communicates its ability to help, and quickly convinced me that I should direct my donation to them and ask friends and family to do the same:

  • Highlights the earthquake relief effort on its home page, with text and a photo, and a link to…
  • Provides a full-page description of how Mercy Corps is already working with its longterm partner org in the region (China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA))
    • These partnerships, with orgs with established relationships in and understanding of regions, are a hallmark of how Mercy Corps does it work, and a real differentiator.
    • Even in the context of a crisis like this, Mercy Corps brand shines through.
  • Offers a donate form that let me direct my gift to the China earthquake relief effort.
    • I couldn’t find another org that gave me this option when I donated this morning at 10am est.

With this impressive, on-target communications approach, I wasn’t surprised to receive a prompt thank you email “from” founder Dan O’Neill. Dan thanked me for my gift, and reiterated the way Mercy Corps works and how my donation will help (generally). Also, he tells me that via donating I’ve subscribed to their e-newsletter (good approach) and directs me how to unsubscribe should I so desire. Only addition I’d like to see is a relief-effort-specific paragraph, and a promise to keep me informed on Mercy Corps work in the China earthquake relief effort.

But most importantly, I urge you to give now to aid the hundreds of thousands of survivors, left without family, shelter, clothing, food and livelihood.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 13, 2008 in Branding and Messages, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications | 3 comments
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  • Margaret Coughlin

    When looking for on the ground impact GlobalGiving is another excellent choice with timely updates, projects that are working at the local level NOW and feedback loops directly from the folks on the ground.
    Would love your opinion on how GLobalGivings’s efforts are working.

  • Margaret Coughlin

    When looking for on the ground impact GlobalGiving is another excellent choice with timely updates, projects that are working at the local level NOW and feedback loops directly from the folks on the ground.
    Would love your opinion on how GLobalGivings’s efforts are working.

  • Elisa

    Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for the tip. I have to say though that I’m surprised to hear this about Mercy Corps.
    A little over 2 years ago, I was recruited by a Mercy Corps canvasser on the street to become a monthly donor (automatically debited from my account). Other than a letter acknowledging that I’d become a donor, I never heard another word from them for 2 years–until my credit card was expiring and they needed to update my information.
    Not being thanked for my donations, not being informed of the work they were doing, and also not receiving an easy record to use at tax time really frustrated me and I discontinued my donations. (I did explain this over email to the person who contacted me, who also never apologized.)
    I know they do good work and I’m happy to hear they are helping people. I just wish they treated regular donors as well as first-timers.
    I’ll keep my eye out for other great organizations doing this work.

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